Harry Potter Book Club: Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16

All right, magical friends?

Art by RockingNeverland
We're moving forward even though Christie hasn't posted yet. (You can all go comment on her last post, though!) Christie, bless her, needs a Time-Turner for all she's trying to get done—too bad the Ministry of Magic's entire stock SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER—so we're just going to move ahead one chapter, to give her some space to catch up.

Even though Chapter 16 ends on a particularly wretched cliffhanger.

Masha posted, focusing in on Dumbledore and his emotional connection to Hogwarts:
...there is a sort of magic to home, both in the series and in reality. Being rooted to a place is powerful and leaves a mark on both the person and the place. It seems too that Dumbledore is very much at home in Hogwarts.... The sense is that Dumbledore's emotional connection to the school is similar to Harry's and to Riddle's. It's his place, and because it is his: emotionally as well as vocationally, the change in official status does nothing to damage his magical link to the school and it's students. It's a rich detail, I think, and one that gives a layer of tangible, natural magic to the series. 
Which is a beautiful thought, and makes me feel even more affectionately about my own little house. <3

(Story time: My neighbor told me yesterday that she dreamed she had come over to feed Maia and discovered, upon entry, that somehow we had managed to make the inside into three stories full of nice spacious rooms. I don't know if she's read Harry Potter, but my immediate thought was: Undetectable extension charm FOR THE WIN.)

Art by chrisables
We haven't gotten to book five (let alone seven) and all the talk therein about love being more powerful than any magic, but I think Masha's on to something with this insight—and it's a point I don't immediately recall having heard put into so many words before: that Dumbledore's love for the school grants him a deeper connection to it, which in turn gives him a magnified and potent knowledge of it—which is strengthened by his magic and possibly its as well, of course.

For fun this week, by way of Masha's hitting Like on various Pinterest boards, which then show up in my Facebook feed: You guys. Quidditch Pong!!! Does not this look like the most nerdtastic game ever??

Beer pong with butterbeer and Quidditch hoops!
And, via that post, Expelliarmus shots! How have I never known about these? Maybe because I am afraid to do shots (mostly afraid I'll choke to death; straight hard liquor is nasty and makes me splutter.) Still. They look like fun.

On to chapter 16!

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This Week in Reading Harry

Read: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16

All right, everyone. The day has come to link what might be considered one of the biggest and most important songs of the origins of the wrock phenomenon: Harry and the Potters' "Save Ginny Weasley".

(Why, yes, wizard rock has always been more about having fun than about being musical....)

Here's a brief history of wrock, for anyone who's interested. Funny, but they don't mention Library Lily and the Tales of the Bard, who jumped into the scene as early as 2008, just in time for the last Myspace hurrah, and made a splash big enough to be heard all the way from one side of the Whoville world—you know, the one Horton hears—to the other. Such an omission. Pfffft.

Potential Discussion Points:

Art by MarsW
1. Who confides in a guy like Percy Weasley? It's telling that Ginny comes even to her crush object (in company with Ron) to share a terrifying secret, rather than going to bossy, self-righteous, legalistic Percy (or even, it may be added, to the not-often-serious Fred and George). Percy is the oldest Weasley family member present; he should have been the first protective one, the advocate she could have counted on.

It's spoilerific to say much this week, but what Ginny has to say could partially implicate her in some serious charges, and Percy has made himself the last person in whom she could place her confidence. People own up to failure where they most hope for mercy, not where they know they will receive judgment. Which is part of the comfort of the confessional.* But now I'm getting off Potter topics.

2. The basilisk. Hey, Masha, you can put up that basilisk post now, the one you were talking about way back when. I don't know much about the mythology, so I'll defer to others.

Art by GingerOpal
3. Some exceptional luck must have been involved in the fact that no one has so far gotten killed by Slytherin's monster (sheesh, "Slytherin"... how I didn't automatically know it was a snake on first read, I'll never understand). Every victim has met the deadly eyes through reflection or camera lens or ghost, has thereby gotten Petrified, and has then lain helplessly on the floor while the hungry snake disappeared back into the pipes. Maybe Dumbledore's magic knowledge of the school provides a certain protection. Or maybe this is just a mystery novel for children, so outright murder was not considered proper for inclusion. (Yet.) Either way, boy, was that a string of lucky breaks.

4. Harry and Ron solve the mystery! The first half of it, anyway. I love the way this plays out.

5. Lockhart. At last, we get the whole story on this jerk. Vindictiveness isn't one of my besetting sins, but I have to admit to grinning when all the teachers look at him "with something remarkably like hatred." And then I catch myself and feel sorry for him, because he's gotten himself into something he can't possibly handle. He's obviously a bungler, magically speaking; Harry stands a better chance than he does, even without the aid of SPOILERS.

I can sympathize with a coward, being naturally terrified of everything myself—which, oddly enough, means that the handsome and flirtatious Lockhart actually has my sympathy here, for the very first time, as he's put on the spot in the teachers' lounge. He immediately destroys that sympathy, of course. It was almost nice hanging with you for half a page, Gilderoy.

6. "Books can be misleading". Yes, they can. Teachers can be, too. And so can the idea that human physical beauty and human goodness are necessarily associated.

7. Myrtle's death. This is just... tragic. A life obsessed with pettiness, struck down in a bathroom stall, and finally foregoing, for schoolgirl vengeance's sake, anything "the next great adventure" might hold. What a story.

Art by ava-angel

Comes in handy for plot purposes, of course.

8. Harry and Ron's bravery. There's never been much reason to doubt their courage, but unraveling a centuries-old mystery, taking a fraudulent teacher captive, and going into a creepy drainpipe to face down a basilisk, just on the faint hope that Ginny might still be alive? This is one of their finest moments. You boys are wonderful.

Next week, we're going behind Salazar Slytherin's Gothic doors... wands out, everyone!

Art by DeathlyToxicity.

* While I'm off Potter topics... Perhaps that's also part of why Pope Francis said what he did a few weeks back (what he said was not what the headlines said he said. But then, it pretty much never is. OK, I linked the last couple for fun. Advisory on the final: language and [conservative] politics.) Hey, Hermione, I think you need to make SPOILER SPOILER into a SPOILER again. Her Quick-Quotes Quill has been partying hard.


  1. Finally! Yay for Basilisks..and internet memes..I'm such a dork! :) But I want to do that shot!! Maybe someday when we're all together..I'll make you a nice, small, unintimidating little shot and Christie will catch you when you fall ;)

    So..The exceptional luck...apart from off-campus SPOILERS in later books, the kid's at Hogwarts are remarkably Alive..despite all odds..Either, it's a happy plot cop-out, or.....(fan fiction moment here): maybe certain magical means are being taken to keep them from certain death - after all, luck is sort of manufacturable in the magical world..and while 'pure liquid luck' is dangerous to play around with, maybe a bit of diluted, powdered luck is part of the meal-plan???? Thoughts? Dumbledore is certainly interfering (and well-meaning) enough.

    1. But I want to do that shot!! Maybe someday when we're all together..I'll make you a nice, small, unintimidating little shot and Christie will catch you when you fall

      HAHAHAHA! YES. Let's plan on it!!

      I don't know whether Dumbledore would work by means of powder or potion or charm, but I don't hesitate to believe he'd be doing something!


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